The Significance of Family and Kinship
One of the most important and essential things that everyone must have in order to live a great and joyful life is family. One must follow values to be successful in life, and one must also support their family to keep that success advancing toward the future. In David W. McCurdy’s article, “Family and Kinship in Village India,” it discusses the significance of how a successful family is formed by tradition, preparation, and patience. The article describes how kinship has the power to arrange marriages successfully, make families unite and assist each other, and teach and help one another agriculturally or economically.
According to McCurdy, the main ways that kinship organizes “Bhil” society in Ratakote, India are the terms used to refer to them, the responsibilities that they have toward one another, and the importance of marrying them off properly. Marriage plays a big role in life for the Bhil’s of Ratakote. The Bhil’s follow their tradition of arranging marriages. They feel that by arranging marriages, both of the families of the bride and groom will benefit in many ways. To them, marriage constructs alliances between the families, lineage, and clans. It also gives social strength and security to the families, and their personal reputations depend on the quality and number of their allied kin.
The Bhil parents of the bride and groom in question, must first find out if the other family’s worthy of becoming a part of the same family after the marriage. The attributes that the parents look for are the reputation of the other family, the treatment and hospitality of the other’s in-laws, the obligations met to others, the bride or groom’s reputation, the physical, emotional, and intellectual characteristics of the bride or groom, and the amount and wealth of the family’s land and animals. If each family is satisfied with each other’s ways of life, then the bride and groom and bound to be. All the precautions taken by the families are extremely necessary because the marriage will play a big role in the continuation of their lives. Which is also why the decision is too important to leave up to the inexperienced young couple.
Ratakote is kinship-centered like many agrarian villages around the world. Villagers secure themselves in their families and spend lots of power and energy on creating and maintaining their kinship system. Our social worlds on the other hand, include non-kin structures and because Americans deal with companies and work organizations, schools, neighborhoods, religious groups, and recreational and social clubs, we’re less likely to worry about our relatives as much; opposing those in Ratakote where kinship is a top priority.
I find the kinship system in Ratakote very interesting and I agree with their ways of life. The U.S. and other first world countries sometimes forget that family and love are supposed to be the top priority in their lives. We’re too into the money and business that we sometimes forget what’s really important to us. I find that with arranged marriages, you can help your family out and benefit yourself at the same time. Your family would be in better hands with the new partnership and friendship formed with the other family, and you wouldn’t have to worry about spending too many years trying to find a loved one to marry. When you get comfortable with your mate, you’ll end up loving that person because that person brought a lot more happiness to you and your family.
In order to be fully successful, you must love yourself and love your family. Without family, there’s an emptiness inside that’s waiting to be filled. The villagers in Ratakote, India have shown us another way of life and possibly a better one. They proved that with a strong kinship system and a following of traditional values, life could be made a lot easier. We just have to realize that we can always learn something new from another culture, but we can learn even more by trying it out on our own.